Massive come from behind victory puts Saracens in pole position in title race

PUBLISHED: 11:21 15 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:21 15 December 2019

Marlie Packer scores her third try in Saracens' hard-fought Tyrrells Premier 15s win at Harlequins. Picture: MAREK DORCIK IMAGES

Marlie Packer scores her third try in Saracens' hard-fought Tyrrells Premier 15s win at Harlequins. Picture: MAREK DORCIK IMAGES

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It may only be December but Saracens’ 33-27 win over Harlequins already feels like a pivotal moment in the race for the Tyrrells Premier 15s title.

Mackenzie Carson makes a break for Saracens in their Tyrrells Premier 15s match at Harlequins. Picture: MAREK DORCIK IMAGESMackenzie Carson makes a break for Saracens in their Tyrrells Premier 15s match at Harlequins. Picture: MAREK DORCIK IMAGES

Not just because of the manner of the victory, Sarries having to battle back from a 24-0 deficit after just 25 minutes, but also because of the psychological damage it could inflict on their closet rivals.

The result means the Women in Red are now top of the pile after nine games, two points clear of Quins and a whopping 12 away from third-placed Loughborough Lightning, and still undefeated.

Those are statistics that looked highly unlikely after the start of the contest at Twickenham Stoop.

Errors presented the hosts with the opening try, Shaunagh Brown getting it, and the second followed minutes later as the Quins pack earned a penalty at the maul and with the advantage Emily Scott put a grubber in behind the defence for Rachael Burford to gather and dive over.

Discipline continued to be lacking in the Saracens ranks and as the Harlequins pressure mounted Poppy Cleall was sent to the sin bin.

And the home side took full advantage with scores from Anna Caplice and Chloe Rollie, both converted by Scott, handing them a bonus point and what looked like a comfortable lead.

But Saracens have already proven this year that you can never count them out, the game at Loughborough in October the prime example, and after finally getting a sustained period with the ball in hand, strong carries allowed Marlie Packer to score five minutes before the break.

Crucially they also got the first try of the second half too, Rocky Clark bundling over after a quick tap penalty.

Lisa Martin converted both and although Scott dragged the lead out slightly again with a penalty, Sarries kept pressing.

They narrowed the gap to six with 20 minutes to go with Packer's second, again converted, and the comeback was complete with a little under 10 minutes to go when May Campbell burrowed over the line following some great handling from the pack putting Welwyn Garden City's Lotte Clapp away down the wing.

Martin again kicked the conversion.

That passage of play also brought a yellow card for the hosts and a fifth Saracens try killed the game off.

Good interchanging of the ball between Clapp and Mackenzie Carson allowed Packer to grab her hat-trick and the win.

That was secured after late home pressure, helped by a yellow to Clark, was repelled by stout defending.


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